British Columbia

B.C. confirms 58 new cases of COVID-19 and 1 more death as province extends state of emergency

B.C. health officials reported 58 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and one more death, as public health officials monitor more than 2,700 people who have been exposed to the virus.

Thousands of people being monitored after being exposed to the virus, with school approaching

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is urging people to prepare for the respiratory season ahead and refocus efforts to keep the number of new cases 'low and slow.' (Ben Nelms/CBC)

B.C. health officials reported one more death and 58 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, a tie for the lowest number of new cases since Aug. 17.

In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said 31 people are in hospital, three more than on Monday and the highest number of hospitalized patients since June 10.

Ten people are in intensive care.

There are currently 1,124 people with active COVID-19 infections in the province. Public health is monitoring 2,761 people who have been exposed to the virus.

A total of 5,848 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus in B.C. since the pandemic began and 209 people have died, while 4,505 people who tested positive have recovered.

Outbreaks continue at eight long-term care or assisted living facilities, and two acute-care facilities have outbreaks as well.

While there are no new community outbreaks, there are still instances of community exposure. 

An alert has been issued for anyone who attended gatherings in the Nass Valley, home to the Nisga'a Nation in northwestern B.C., between Aug. 21 and 25.  Those developing symptoms are asked to self-isolate immediately.

'There will be consequences,' premier warns violators

The new numbers were announced as the B.C. government extended the provincial state of emergency for the 13th time on Tuesday.

The renewal is in place until Sept. 15 and will continue to allow the government to take "necessary actions" to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General said in a news release.

"It's encouraging to see the vast majority of British Columbians following public health rules to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep each other safe," Premier John Horgan said in a statement.

"However, there remains a small group of people ignoring Dr. Henry's orders and threatening our hard work over the past several months to flatten the curve. This pandemic is not over, and whether it's an end-of-summer gathering or hockey celebration, this is not the time to bend or break the rules. To those few who are not complying, there will be consequences."

Last month, police and enforcement agencies were granted the ability to issue $2,000 fines for event organizers who violate public health orders.

Between August 21 and 28, 10 tickets were issued, including six $2,000 fines on large gatherings and events and four $200 violation tickets for individuals. 

On Monday, Henry asked British Columbians to monitor their health more closely than ever this fall as school resumes and cold and flu season approach. Anyone who is not feeling well, even though the symptoms are mild, needs to stay home, she said.

With return to classes a little more than a week away, back-to-school preparations are in full swing. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

Henry also urged British Columbians to be more cautious with their social interactions as weather cools and more people are drawn indoors.

This includes keeping groups small and using a mask in indoor spaces where you may be in close contact with people you don't know.

"These more challenging, colder months, we have to close those gaps that we've had here in the summer and flatten our curve again," she said.

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